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Hoka Bondi 8 review

The Hoka Bondi 8 is the brand's most cushioned road running shoe yet, but does it live up to the hype? Kate Milsom finds out...

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
£145
hoka-bondi-8-running-shoe

Designed to be exceptionally supportive and comfortable over long distances on hard, unforgiving surfaces, the newest iteration of the Bondi range boasts some tactical updates to improve running comfort and quality. 

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Fear not fans of max cushioning, though, the Bondi 8 still has padding in abundance from the revamped and light midsole to the cushy memory-foam collar
that helps avoid rubbing, all the way to the partially gusseted, pillowed tongue.

During a month-long testing period, we put the 8s through their paces with some serious pavement pounding over hard tarmac, gravel and some hard-packed trails. And we have to conclude that they’re one of, if not the most, plush run shoes we’ve come across. 

Hoka Bondi 8 ride impressions

The new ‘resilient foam’ midsole is highly effective at absorbing impact from the hard ground, leaving our legs feeling fresh after long, back-to-back training runs. 

Parallels in terms of comfort can be drawn here with Hoka’s Kawana, an all-round training shoe. But for us the 8s take the edge when it comes to run experience on the road.

Despite the ‘wedge look’ given by the midsole/outsole construction, the shoe doesn’t feel clumpy when in motion, partly thanks to the lightweight, aerated upper that helps avoid over-heating and brings down the shoe to a modest 252g for a UK5.5. We’ve seen lighter, but with the extreme cushioning taken into account, that’s pretty decent.

Made with a 4mm drop for neutral runners, the shoe’s designed to improve run stability through the addition of a ‘billowed heel’. And though it wouldn’t be our first pick in a race scenario, this does prove useful for quick transitions.

Due to the in-built Ortholite sockliner, the 8 can also be worn sockless, with a heel tab helpful for saving precious seconds in T2.   

Constructed with an early-stage Metarocker to encourage forward motion, the Bondi 8 would be our training shoe pick for long-distance runners with high training volumes who want a shoe to help avoid injury.

Fit and versatility

A key feature here’s the roomy toe-box, which is wider than that of the Mach Supersonic. It accommodates foot swelling and didn’t leave us with any nasty side rubbing or blisters. There are also wide and extra wide fit options available.

Unlike the smooth outsole of Hoka’s Carbon X3, the vegan Bondi 8 shows its versatility with a shallow grip pattern and zonal rubber placement, meaning we felt as stable on hard-packed trails as on the road (though Hoka do warn that trails will degrade the shoe quicker than road).

In the interest of versatility, because let’s face it, at £145 it’s not a budget shoe, we must add that the 8 provides sublime comfort for walking and run/walk sessions. 

Verdict:A super cushioned road running shoe that’ll keep your legs fresh.

Score: 90%

Also consider…

Hoka Bondi X

Throw in a few extra £10 notes and the Hoka Bondi X will be in your reach. As you’d expect from a shoe in this range, the Bondi X delivers high levels of cushioning, but this design also comes with a carbon plate.

When combined with Hoka’s trademark Meta-Rocker and a 5mm drop, the ride is smooth and stable, but slightly bouncy. It’s comfortable, though can feel slightly bulky and isn’t the lightest.

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In our review in issue 400 of 220 Triathlon, we came to the conclusion that, while it may not be a shoe for racing or pushing the pace, it’s a great option for eating up long miles in training.